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The Road To McCarthy: Around The World In Search Of Ireland (2005)

The Road to McCarthy: Around the World in Search of Ireland (2005)
3.77 of 5 Votes: 2
0007162138 (ISBN13: 9780007162130)
harper perennial
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The Road To McCarthy: Around The Worl...
The Road To McCarthy: Around The World In Search Of Ireland (2005)

About book: Honestly, when I first started this book, I didn't really like it. I thought the whole entire first section on Morocco was incredibly dull. In fact, I'm fairly certain I would have just tossed this book aside if not for the fact that I was in the middle of a long vacation, had already finished two of the other books I'd brought, and that the other book I had is a bit on the somber side. Hurray for lack of options!I think the main problem with this book is that the author didn't seem to really know what the point was. Therefore, I was unclear on the point. Was he traveling the world looking for/talking to people with the same last name as him (McCarthy)? Or was he traveling the world to view all of the places that have a strong Irish connection? It seemed a bit murky. Therefore, the book came off somewhat disjointed.Even so, I persevered, and McCarthy seems to have hit his stride in Tasmania. Basically, I really enjoyed the middle of this book. Ireland/Morocco where he started was blah. New York perked me up. Tasmania, Montserrat, Montana, and Alaska were excellent. Ireland, where he ended, was ok. This book is just hit and miss.However, I can't rate it any lower because the parts I did enjoy, I REALLY enjoyed. I especially liked Tasmania and, much to my surprise, Alaska. There were parts in each of those sections that were not only beautiful, but downright touching. Also, once I got past the disastrous Morocco section, I actually found McCarthy rather funny, which helped. And he did provide a lot of information that I personally had been unfamiliar with before. For example, did you know that one of the "Young Irelanders" (famous Irish freedom fighters) later became one of the governors of Montana? Small world!I would really only recommend this book if you have a particular interest in Irish history or in some of the more remote places of the world.

Having read McCarthy's bar sometime ago and enjoyed it I was looking forward to this. Pete McCarthy writes a wry set of observations on people and places and when his focus was set on the bars of Ireland it worked well. This book however was larger and more sprawling and, I think as a result, lost some focus.It took quite a while to gain a vague inkling as to what his theme was, that of tracing the spread of the Irish people across the globe. But this was mixed in with the search for the McCarthy Mor (kind of ceremonial clan chief - allegedly) and McCarthy's own search for identity. As a result there was no strong sense of direction (odd for what is ostensibly a travel book). That is not to say that the individual vignettes were not enjoyable. He manages to find out some fascinating characters and has a keen eye for the absurd. His encounters with a variety of wildlife around the globe are usually hilarious.Despite this I really felt like I had no real sense of the story on completion. The final chapter sort of fizzled out without any conclusion.On the whole an entertaining diversion but not a 'must read'.
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McCarthy has the luck of the Irish - must be his mother's side - at least when it came to finding interesting people and getting a good story out of them. No doubt his self-effacing attitude and sense of humor help. They certainly shine through in this book as his travels ranges from Ireland to Alaska, Morocco to Tasmania - just about anywhere, in short, that you can find the name McCarthy. It's a dangerous book to read right before a trip (or anytime at all, come to think of it) because it makes you want to go, go, go! I enjoyed this read very much. That being said, I liked McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland more; it had a greater sense of place, and more cohesion. Sometimes it feels like Pete's stretching for the craic a bit too much, and his paranoid flights of imagination (about the wildlife, the authorities and the locals) become predictable after the first few pages. He's playing a well-worn character for us, and while it works for the most part, it also feels put-on. But I still recommend it. I wish he'd written more books before passing in 2004.
Elizabeth Quinn
Another hilarious outing by the late Pete McCarthy, whose McCarthy's Bar was a great find on our trip to Ireland. In this book, rather than making sure to enter every bar with his name on it in Ireland, McCarthy travels around the globe to visit locations with his name on them, including Tangier, New York City, Tasmania, Montserrat, Montana, and Alaska among others. McCarthy is a very funny writer and a charming travel companion who provides much interesting historical perspective and detail of the Irish diaspora on the trip.
I savored this because there isn't another one. McCarthy is back on the road, searching for his Irishness or Ireland, or just a great pub. I love his travel methodology and wish I could be as relaxed in my approach to life. He followed the Irish diaspora to Van Dieman's Land, Montana, Monserratt, and even ventured to Alaska. I love most his enjoyment of the unexpected. He heads out to see or do one thing, but the real delight of the journey is all the stuff that he wasn't expecting. This tale is a bit darker - he was clearly disturbed by the horrors of the prisons and not surprising. That much pain in one place has to linger for generations. I was sad to find out Pete McCarthy died. His books are funny and fun and a joy to read. Hopefully there is a most excellent selection of pubs wherever he is.
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